Clues to How Stress Affects Your Body

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthA study found that 1,953 men and women who experience the highest levels of stress were more than three times as likely to have abdominal pain then their more-relaxed counterparts. has compiled a list of seven body clues signaling you need more time for calm and how to help decrease the symptoms.

  • Weekend headaches
      • A sudden drop in stress can prompt migraines.
      The fix: Stick closely to your weekday sleeping and eating schedule to minimize other triggers.
  • Awful period cramps
      • The most stressed-out women are more than twice as likely to experience painful cramps as those who are less tense.
      The fix: Hitting the gym can soothe cramps and stress, by decreasing sympathetic nervous system activity.
  • An achy mouth
      • A sore jaw can be a sign of teeth grinding, which usually occurs during and can be worsened by stress.
      The fix: Ask your dentist about a nighttime mouth guard—up to 70 percent of people who use one reduce or stop grinding altogether.
  • Odd dreams
      • Dreams usually get progressively more positive as you sleep, so you wake up in better mood than you were in when you went to bed. But when you’re stressed, you wake up more often, disrupting this process and allowing unpleasant imagery to recur all night.
      The fix: Aim for 7 to 8 hours a night, and avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Bleeding gums
      • Stressed-out people have a higher risk of periodontal disease. Chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may impair the immune system and allow bacteria to invade the gums.
      The fix: If you’re working long hours and eating dinner at your desk, keep a toothbrush on hand. And protect your mouth by exercising and sleeping more, which will help lower stress.
  • Out-of-nowhere acne
      • Stress increases the inflammation that leads to breakouts.
      The fix: Smooth your skin with a lotion containing skin sloughing salicylic acid or bacteria-busting benzoyl peroxide. If your skin doesn’t respond to treatment within a few weeks, see your doctor for more potent meds.
  • Bellyaches
      • A study of 1,953 men and women found that those who experience the highest levels of stress were more than three times as likely to have abdominal pain as their more-relaxed counterparts. The exact connection is still unclear, but one theory holds that the intestines and the brain share nerve pathways; when the mind reacts to stress, the intestines pick up the same signal.
      The fix: Learn to magazine stress with the help of a clinical psychologist, meditation, or even exercise. However, if you have frequent bellyaches, see your doctor to rule out food allergies, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, or an ulcer.

Comments are closed.